This guide will explore the basics, benefits, and components of creating an effective white paper for your business.
Did you know the term white paper originated when government papers were coded by color for distribution purposes? The color white indicated the paper could be used for public access.
Now, a white paper is characterized as an educational guide or detailed report that addresses a specific topic. White papers are typically long-form pieces of content that delve into the details of a specific topic and are supported by facts and figures.
Do you wish you had more prospective customers visiting your website?
Do you see competitors getting interviewed in the press and wish you could get the same kind of coverage for your brand?
Do you genuinely want to help customers resolve specific pain points you know they frequently encounter?
You likely answered yes to each question. And, if that’s the case, consider creating a white paper for your brand. Here’s why…
A white paper is usually a gated asset. Consumers share their contact information in exchange for educational content. The more enticing the topic of a white paper is, the more attention it’ll garner and leads it’ll generate. Use the collected contact information to bring these leads into your sales funnel and hook them with additional value through offers, exclusive content, and more
If someone is searching for answers to a specific question or insights on how to handle a certain situation, they’ll want to find a piece of content that dots every “i” and crosses every “t.” If your white paper offers a solution to a problem or an answer to a question, the consumer will see your brand as a reliable source on the topic.
A white paper has the power to create a level of trust between the consumer and a brand. Not to mention, authority for the brand. White papers are written for an audience outside of a business and are intended to provide value, not be a sales pitch.
This educational and informational approach to content creation builds authority and creates a level of trust between the consumer and a company.
The ultimate goal of writing a white paper is two-fold.
To both inform and convince, brands will want to follow the standard white paper format. Here’s a quick overview of the necessary elements of an effective white paper.
Just like writing a press release headline, when crafting the title of your white paper, you’ll want to pique your readers’ interest. The title should be benefitfocused and clearly communicate the problem your white paper solves.
The abstract is a summary of what the reader can expect to learn from the white paper. Provide important details to create context and pique their interest enough to keep reading.
This is the section of the white paper that highlights what attracted the reader in the first place, the problem. In this section, don’t try to sell your brand and solution. Instead, focus on identifying and defining the problem from the target audience’s vantage point.
Delve into relevant aspects of the industry that apply to the problem at hand. Provide data, statistics, and quotes from individuals in your organization to showcase expertise on the topic.
Bring your knowledge to the table and provide a viable solution for the readers.
In this section, double down on data to educate your audience and seamlessly weave in how your product/service is the solution to the problem. This is where you can start the “sales” process. Provide supporting details to build your case and share how your brand can help.
Don’t shy away from explaining how your brand outperforms your competitors. Support your claims with statistics, testimonials, facts, figures, and more.
Just as you summarized the white paper in the abstract, you’ll want to cover all the bases in the conclusion as well. Give readers a recap of the journey you’ve just taken them on. Talk about the problem, highlight the solution, and reiterate why your brand is the answer to their problems.
In this section, you’ll want to include a call to action. Be clear on the action you want them to take. It’s common to ask for contact information, but consider offering your readers something. Think free consultation, trial, or a discount. Give them something that’ll make them want to engage with your brand even more.